The Google Authenticator app is getting in the teeth for a long time and is being left behind by other 2SV (two-step verification) software-based applications. But an update brings with it a much-needed new feature, but only for Android users.
I used to suggest and use Google Authenticator for my 2SV (two-step verification) requirements. Yet over the years, more sophisticated apps have been added that do more and make the security provided by 2SV more convenient. I’m no longer using Google Authenticator, but for those who do use it, Google has added what it claims is “one of the most awaited features.” So, what is this feature?
It’s the power to transfer 2SV secrets to other apps that have Google Authenticator enabled.
The method is easy and does not send any data to Google servers to transfer — communication is directly between the two devices and involves scanning the QR code created by the Google Authenticator.
Google has also placed in place a number of alerting mechanisms and in-app logs to make sure users know when the transfer feature has been used in Google Authenticator, making it more difficult for anyone to make a surreptitiously switch.
Google has begun to carry out this functionality, beginning with the release of Google Authenticator for Android 5.10. IOS users are going to have to wait for this feature.
It’s a decent start, but it feels too little, too late. Nearly every good password manager comes with its own built-in authenticator tool, as well as excellent third-party tools such as Authy. Google Authenticator has a long way to go before they catch up with it.